Odd comments and passing judgement

I have thought long and hard before deciding to publish this poem, for it to be out there in the digital world. But i’ve felt it important to do so for myself more than anything else.  When reading this, read it with no judgement, read it as is, a poem from a mothers heart about raising a child in todays world.

I’ll be honest, it came to my one night as I was putting my son to bed, after my mind drifted to a place which recalled all the odd comments I have received over the year about raising a son.  Little things, about how much energy he has, or “oh my doesn’t he scare you with how bold he is?”, “does he ever have a calm moment?”.  I’ve had moments where others have made me doubt my mothering towards my son, until I realised HANG ON! There is NOTHING wrong my son at all!  How dare others make me feel as though there is.  My son is bold, he is full of energy and wants to explore the world…as he should!  He absorbs everything around him, he plays and laughs and smiles, he gives cuddles and hugs and kisses.  He loves playing with other kids, and he loves caring for other babies.  Especially babies, and this is important to me, to watch my son be so gentle and kind and calm when he is around a baby is just incredible to me.  It is not something my husband or I have taught him because he is an only child.  It comes from within him, he sits next to them, he cuddles them, he puts toys next to them and wants to show them what he is doing.  He sits next to them and giggles and lets them touch his face and pull his hair, all without getting agressive or feeling threatened.  You can’t teach a 2 year old this behaviour.  It is so special to watch, and then for those with babies to feel then need to ‘protect’ their babies from my son makes my heart sink to the floor and it took a lot for me to realise that actually it doesnt matter what they think.  All that matters is that we raise our son right, with good values and morals, and watch him blossom into a happy and energetic boy.

So, without anymore rambling on, here it is.  I hope it inspires those who also have low moments in parenthood to brush off the weird and negative comments and to look at your child and just smile, and be so grateful that they are they little person that they are.

Thank you all so much for reading :).  Until next time!

He is my son

His soul is gentle, his soul is calm,
His soul is caring and filled with regard.
His gentle nature is pure and joyous,
he carves a path of peace and nurtures all of us.

He is caring, daring, free and loving,
some see the beauty while others see a brashness.
For those who find him loud and reckless,
for those afraid of his carefree nature,
for those who feel he needs taming, calming,
to  you I say this…

Turn around and walk away from me,
for I am mother lioness to him.
Your thoughts towards him are words to me,
no disrespect, but he transcends all you beings.

Watch him grow beyond your moral laws,
beyond your hypocritical codes of conduct.
He will respect all regardless of gender,
he will protect all because that is his nature.

Watch him grow and be unabashedly free,
this I say to you with confidence,
because he is my son, and I am me.

5 things no one tell you about childbirth and having a baby

1: Epidural failure and the pain that comes with it!

My delivery story, if you’ve read it, was a little complicated and crazy towards the end. But what no one prepared me for was my epidural failing and having to go through it a second time and be topped off with a spinal block! That pain that shoots through your body when your epidural fails is like no other pain I have ever experienced. The shooting pain down my back, the extreme sciatic like pain through my hips and then feeling delirious and completely not in control. I couldn’t communicate with anyone around me, or understand what anyone was saying to me. And having to sit up and go through that process again! I’m just glad it all happened towards the end of my labour!

2: The wonder of Entonox (Gas and Air)

Laughing gas, sounds wonderful right? The light headedness, the feeling of drifting, the pain slowly being dissipated….then the nausea and vomiting! Yup! That too. I wanted to be on it for as long as I could, and have my birth as natural as possible (we know how that turned out), but I just couldn’t do it. The gas just made me feel so light headed and nauseous to my core. I lasted all of half an hour on it! Wow. It was like my first trimester nausea all over again, just amplified. In the end, I was glad to be wheeled up to the ward.

3: The twisted cervix!

You learn about a lot of complications during labour and delivery, but what I wasn’t expecting was to be told I had a twisted cervix which was up and to the left – not straight down for my babys head to engage fully. Also, how painful the examination would be to try to pull my cervix to straighten it. It felt as horrifying as it sounds while your reading this. I wont lie, it hurt, a lot. It felt as though the midwife was reaching up into my rib cage to pull my guts out. That pain, that discomfort, that space which leaves you at your most vulnerable, nothing prepared me for it. It was the only time though my entire labour process I broke down and cried. This is the point you realise, no matter how hard you try to control the situation at some point you have to just let go and submit and go with the flow.

4: On/Off emotions

We all know that this is the most emotional time as a parent, seeing your baby for the first time. But I don’t think you, or your partner, are prepared for how quickly you go from immense pain to uncontrollable tears of joy in a split second! I went from not being able to talk, vomiting between contractions, to just utter tears of joy in a second. I feel this is more for partners, because my husband, bless him, couldn’t handle and understand this sudden emotional change in me. After seeing me at my lowest in so much pain, to then seeing me at my highest with such joy and happiness… he had to step outside for a minute to take a breather. It’s not something you’ll ever understand until you’re in that room experiencing it.

5: Your night in hospital

if you’ve had any kind of procedure, and a spinal block, the chances are you’re spending a night in hospital. Here’s the thing, for me it was amazing! And no one quite tell you that. My experience was very positive. The nursery nurses were fabulous throughout the night when I was having trouble breastfeeding. They were so supportive and gave me great tricks and tips to feed my baby that first night and next day. I was helped to the toiled and back because my legs were still weak from the spinal block. The food was ok, it’s a hospital not a 5 star restaurant ok, and I truly wish I had stayed another night.

The bottom line is, it’s bloody hard work having a baby! But just go with the flow, listen to the experts, and go in with little or no expectations so you don’t feel let down if things change. And most of all enjoy the entire experience because once it’s over then its over.

All for now!

 

Nappy rash, baby products and whats worked

As a new mum, I found myself standing in the aisle of baby products, looking at various products and labels and what each claim to do for a baby’s skin and hair.  Yikes! I felt overwhelmed to say the least.  Reading endless labels was driving me crazy.  So, by the power of elimination here are the 5 products I use with Neel, my 14 month old son, and have used since he began taking baths.  They work for us, they are not expensive, and they last a long time (which is great for the wallet!).

1 Avoiding that dreaded nappy rash
I feel truly lucky that I have been able to avoid Neel getting a nappy rash in his first year, woohoo! No sore bottoms, no cranky baby because of having a sore bottom.  And this has all been down to 2 main things I’ve done right from the day we brought him home from the hospital.  The first is to always wet your nappy wipes before using them.  Nappy wipes are great, but they can get a bit dry.  Those first few weeks and months when their skin is so delicate rubbing away those 100 poos (yes that’s what it feels like) a day can take a toll on their little bottoms.  Try running your wipes under warm water so they are nice and soaked and that way baby gets a warm wipe and avoids the friction of a dry wipe.  I also always make sure his bottom is dry before then applying nappy cream and then a fresh nappy.  The 2 nappy creams I love to use are Bepanthen and boots own brand nappy rash spray.

Bepanthen is amazing!  I love it far more than Sudocrem for an everyday barrier against nappy rash.  It is creamier and it sinks into the skin rather than sitting on top of the skin. It keeps Neels skin protected and soft through the day and night.  In my mind, using this everyday has helped me to prevent Neel from every developing a nappy rash.

The other barrier cream is the Boots own brand Nappy Rash Spray.  This product is really cool.  And it is especially good for those who don’t like to use their fingers, or dads who get a bit squeamish doing so like my husband!  You don’t have to rub this product in, just spray the area and pop on a nappy, that simple.  It’s light, it sinks into the skin and again protects Neel through the day.  It is also handy to keep in your nappy bag for on the go and for travelling.  It saves you getting product on your hands, and the whole process of changing a little simpler when you are out and about.

2 Baby bubble bath
Hands down, this category is hard!  So much choice, so many claims, so many fragrances or no fragrance, sensitive skin, normal skin, good for this or that.  Hmm,  I’ll be honest I went with my gut on this one.  Ok ya I did do a bit of research, and looking around this was the best option I found.  The Child’s Farm bubble bath for sensitive skin.

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This stuff smells amazing to begin with!  It has organic tangerine and the moment it hits the water the entire bathroom fills with that sweet smell, it is gorgeous!  I love it because it is so gentle on Neels skin.  It is good for sensitive skin and eczema prone skin.  It has Vitamin E to gently moisturise the skin and organic tangerine oil to calm and soothe the skin.  It has no artificial colours, free from parabens, SLSs and mineral oils and has over 98% of naturally derived ingredients.  It’s simple, smells amazing and doesn’t leave Neel dry after a bath.  This bottle will last me months! A good 2 months of everyday use.  You don’t need a lot of it, a little goes a long way and gives off lovely bubbles in the bath too for baby to play with.

3 Shampoooooo 
Again, so much choice, and I followed suit with the Child’s Farm baby shampoo which fragrance free and for sensitive skin.

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It is a lovely shampoo which doesn’t make Neel tear up at all.  It is suitable to use from new born and upwards, just as the bubble bath is, and is free from all the nasty things like the bubble bath.  It is fragrance free and very mild and gentle, but still effective in lifting off any mess from the day.  It is simple, and effective.  This bottle lasts me around 3 to 4 months depending how often I have to wash his hair.  You don’t need a lot, a small squeeze goes a long way!  Me love!

4 Moisturiser for babies 
When Neel was a new born i used Aveeno baby moisturiser on him for the first 4 to 5 months.  I just felt safer using it, and it smelt amazing and suited his skin really well.  However, it isn’t the most cost effective product around.  Not so long ago Dove launched their Dove baby range, and in that range is their Dove baby lotion for sensitive skin.  It is fragrance free, and gently moisturises baby’s skin all day.

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It is hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested and Paediatrically approved.  It’s not thick which I like, and it sinks into the skin pretty quickly and doesn’t leave Neel all sticky when I’m then trying to put his clothes on after.  I use it on his face and body and it suits him really well.  It isn’t expensive, and it lasts a fairly good amount of time.

 

Those are my 5 favourite products I’ve been using with Neel.  There are others I have used and loved to, the Aveeno baby range is beautiful, the Burts Bees baby bubble bath smells divine and is gorgeous too.  I have used the Simple baby shampoo and found that very good for a baby as well.  If you are a part of the Boots club it is a great way to trial out a bunch of products with 3 for 2 offers or buy 1 get 1 half price offers on certain products.  It’s also a great way to stock up on a few products that you may need, or split them for gifts as well.  My biggest tip, don’t feel overwhelmed by choice.  Find a product which is simple, not too many ingredients and that works for baby and you.

Thanks for stopping by!

until next time xoxo

Mum hacks for busy mums

We all know how hectic and busy it gets with a baby.  Whether you have 1, 2 or 3 children, working, stay at home, or a combination of all, life isn’t straight forward!  So to keep my sanity and my household going at a relatively normal pace here are a few things I do so that everything doesn’t pile up on me.

1 The diaper change
Changing a toddlers nappy is a challenge, getting them to stay still, stay lying down and to not get their feet or hands in the nappy…dear lord!  My biggest tip is to always change their nappy in the same place at home.  I always change Neel in his bathroom.  Whether it’s his nappy or clothes, it happens in his bathroom.  This way when I say nappy change to him now he recognises that he has to walk into the bathroom.  It also keeps the mess contained.  If anything should spill over i can mop the floor rather than carpets getting dirty.  I keep a few toys in the bathroom for him to mess about with and keep him distracted to make the whole experience for me smoother and with far less tantrums.

2 Clean as you go
This may sound silly but it really does help stop everything piling up on you at the end of the day or week.  For example, as I’m cooking and feeding Neel, I’m also cleaning as I go.  I’ll wash dirty dishes, put away dry clean dishes and clear away whatever needs going in the fridge so the counter tops are clear.  This way once Neel has finished eating I just have his high chair to clean and mop the floor quickly.  It also means that when Neel goes down for a nap or to bed I’m not wasting precious relaxation time tidying up and cleaning the kitchen!  Let’s face it, a hot cuppa is far more comforting to think about than cleaning a kitchen when you’re putting your little ones to bed!

3 Tidy up with your toddler
This tip is also so that once I come back down after putting Neel to sleep I can just put my feet up for a bit.  Before heading up for bath and bed time, I ask Neel to pass me his toys so we can tidy up the living room.  He understands the word “Pass” now so he will happily make a game out of it and pass me one toy at a time to put away in his toy chest.  I’m secretly hoping this gets him in the habit of doing it himself when he is a little older!  This way when I come back down the living room is all tidy and I can eat my dinner or just put my feet up for a bit.

4 Keeping the bathroom and bath tub clean
We all know NOT to leave your baby unattended or unsupervised when they are in the bath at any point.  But this doesn’t mean you can’t be productive while watching them and singing songs together.  When Neel is in the bath I will give the sink a quick wipe and clean, disinfect the toilet and wipe the outside and mop his bathroom floor all without walking away from him.  When he is done with his bath, I drain the tub and turn the shower on low.  He loves playing with the shower, so I’ve turned it into a bit of a game.  We give the toys he has used a shower to get rid of any residual soap from the bath, we shower the bath tub down and shower down his non slip mat till all the bubble bath and soap has gone.  Neel loves doing this,  then It’s out and ready for bed!  All clean for tomorrow :).

5 When baby goes to sleep, SIT DOWN!
This really saves me from going insane.  No exaggeration!  When Neel goes to sleep, before doing anything else, I sit down and have a hot cup of tea or something to eat in peace.  This gives me the mental calm which, lets face it, is very needed to then get going with whatever needs doing and before he wakes up for the madness to begin again.

6 Multiple toy boxes
We all have jobs to get on with at home, there is always something that needs doing, and it couldn’t be more boring for toddlers.  To stop Neel getting cranky on me during these times I keep multiple little toy boxes in the areas I need them.  I have an old large biscuit tin in the kitchen with a few toys, I have books by the side of my bed for when I’m changing sheets or tidying away clothes, and a few in his bathroom for changing times.  By doing this he doesn’t get bored when I’m cooking, hanging out laundry, tidying away clothes or changing sheets etc.

7 Be organised the night before
This is simple, keep bags packed and ready to go the night before.  I keep Neels nursery bag, his sweater and coat, hat and shoes all together on the sofa so we aren’t running around in the morning.  I keep his set of clothes he is going to wear in the morning ready in his bathroom too.  Also keep your own work or day bag ready.  I pack my work bag and keep my lunch ready boxed in the fridge so I just have to grab and go in the mornings.  It just makes your mornings go smoother and you don’t forget anything in the hustle of things.

8 A family calendar 
This is by far my favourite.  Get a family calendar!  I have one which has columns for each of us.  It keeps my husband and me on the same page as to who is doing what and what appointments we have.  Everything from our work shifts, Neels nursery times, doctors appointments, any upcoming events or groups we go to,  meet up with friends, it all goes on the calendar.  This way there is no confusion on dates, and we can both refer to the calendar at any point to know what is happening that week or month.

So folks, these are my words of wisdom!  There is nothing ground breaking about my little tips, but they are small steps which have really helped me keep on top of things at home while working.  There is no handbook, just us mums and dads who can share what has worked for us.  What works for you?  Share away!

Thanks for stopping by,
until next time xoxo

Just like that…he’s tuned 1!

I feel like its time I introduced you to my family, and I feel like I’m ready to now. It is my pleasure to introduce to you the love of my life, my husband, Gaurav, and the centre of our universe, our baby boy, Neel.

 

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Gaurav, Aradhana and baby Neel

I cannot believe we have just celebrated Neels first birthday. It’s so strange to think that I have been a mother for an entire 365 days! It feels like I’ve been doing this forever though, both my husband and myself talk about how it’s hard to imagine what we used to do before Neel came along. All those sleepless nights, the endless nappies, the sleep training, the weaning, nursery, going back to work, 2 holidays in the middle… all this in 1 short year. Neel, this blog is for you.

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Daddy and Neel just a few weeks old
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Can’t believe he is 1!

You came into our lives and instantly filled a gap that didn’t seem to exist in our lives. Our home and family suddenly felt a bit more solidified, and our purpose changed. We were now parents first, putting you first, placing you above all else. And rightly so! The hours Gaurav and me would just sit looking at you sleep, watching you blow bubbles, giggle and laugh and try to communicate with us were the best hours of our life! How you just drew us in and kept us mesmerised with your big (at the time blue!) eyes, which then turned to dark deep brown. Watching you grow and learning to do new things everyday has been so magical. Of course its been tough too, I wont lie, there were days Gaurav and me felt like we couldn’t do this, that we were failing or not doing things right. There were days I felt lonely and wrecked and beyond exhausted. But I always remember what our antenatal class teacher, Linzy, would keep reminding us… “always remember that its just a phase. Today may be hard, but get through this phase and conquer it, then get ready for the next phase”. It’s just a phase. And babies go through a gazillion phases! But that’s the only thing that’s kept Gaurav and me going to be honest, remembering how helpless Neel is as a baby, and that it is just a phase as he learns this new skill or that new skill.

 

 

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Proud parents

Our first year has been incredible. We have been through two holidays, adjusting to life together, starting nursery, going back to work and just like that you turned 1. You’ve been on 9 flights, visited Germany and India, spent time with grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and great aunts and uncles and made new friends. You’ve learnt to walk, learnt to eat on your own, learnt to play on your own. You’ve gone through baby massage, baby yoga and love swimming. Your first word was “Uh oh”, you try your best to say Daddy… we’ll keep working on mummy…you say hi and bye and wave to everyone. You want to put on your own socks and hat, and love story time. You even finallyyou’re your first haircut!

Neel, you are just a happy baby who loves to smile and laugh and keep everyone around you entertained. Your spirit is so positive, your demeanour calm and collected, your walk confident and filled with a purpose. Your journey this year has filled us with memories we will cherish when you hit those teenage years of not wanting anything to do with us! And yes, they will all be revealed on your wedding day for that all important embarrassing moments by mum and dad. So Neel, thank you for coming into our lives. We hope we do you proud as you grow up, we hope we give you the best we possibly can, and do the most we can for you. I couldn’t be happier that your little soul chose me as your mummy, and you chose us as your parents. We love you more than you’ll ever know, and will always stand by you.

Xxx mummy and daddy.

 

Sleep training…Oh joy!

It’s wonderful isn’t it? When you hear of little ones sleeping soundly from the get go, or from the 3rd month and parents are joyous and full of energy? Well I’m not one of them! I wish I was. I waited till my son was 11 months old to start sleep training him. And for a lot of parents this is way too late, and for a few it’s too early.

I did contemplate starting earlier when we begun weaning onto solid foods. But I quickly realised that with me exclusively breastfeeding my son was having a hard time letting go so early and so quickly. So why rush it? I wont lie, a part of me didn’t want give up the cuddles and snuggles and co-sleeping. But yes I was getting to the point of being exhausted and surviving on little or no sleep. Not healthy for me, does my baby no good, I know. So, come almost 11 months it’s time! But here is the fun part, I didn’t do the training!

Sleep training is hard! It is emotionally exhausting, it pulls on every heartstring, it makes you feel like you are the worst mother on this earth. You hear your baby cry and of course you want to run to them and give them a cuddle and a million kisses. When I had tried to do it myself I felt like a monster and I couldn’t bare it. So, I decided that I needed help. And who better than my mummy to the rescue! I had read so much about the different methods of sleep training, watched numerous YouTube videos (as you do as a first time mom!), spoke to health visitors and other mums, and even looked at all the many gadgets you could buy to help your baby sleep! Different methods work for different babies, and it also depends on you and how you want to handle the training process. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way. And I cannot sit here and say my method was the best or worst.   I just know it is what worked for me and made me the most comfortable. I felt safe and secure knowing my baby was in the best possible hands, my mother! I felt reassured and calm and supported about the whole process.

I had asked my mum to come to me for a couple of weeks to help us get the sleep training process started. I knew it would probably take longer than 2 weeks, but at least this time would get the basic screaming out the way! And with my mum having the experience of doing it with me I knew she wouldn’t have an issue with my son. It has been two weeks now, and can I say, for the first time in 11 months, I am sitting downstairs in my living room at 8:50pm, after having a lovely shower and getting into fresh PJ’s, writing out this blog in peace! What bliss. All thanks to mother dearest. So I thought I would share a few things on how we managed to get here.

The first 3 nights were the hardest. My son had to get used to sleeping in his own room, in his own cot, and learn to self-sooth if he woke up. The way my mother made this happen is my favourite technique by a mile. I would get him into his sleep sack, give him his night feed and rock him to sleep. I would then put him down in his cot by which point he would wake up screaming. And boy did it take every ounce of emotional energy to not pick him up. Mummy would order me to go downstairs, and she would just sleep on the floor next to his cot in the dark room and hum gently. She also would put her hand through the cot bar so he could hold her hand and fall asleep. The first night it took all night! He kept waking up, and my mum would just gently pat him through the bars and hum till he fell asleep again. I decided that between 5am and 6am if he woke up I would pick him up, take him out of his sleep sack and give him his morning feed and he could then come into bed with my husband and me for the morning for an hour or 2 till we would all get up to get ready. That seemed reasonable to me and also reassuring for my son to know that in the morning when he wakes up he gets to spend cuddle time with mummy and daddy before nursery and work.

The first week, again the same routine, with slightly less waking up in the middle of the night. And now, 2 weeks in, I have put my son to sleep and down in his cot and he is fast sleep! WOOHOO!! Now I will add that if he does wake up crying in the middle of the night, I bend over his cot and I give him a tight cuddle and a kiss. He should always know that I do love him and that I am there when he needs me, but yes it is bed time so he needs to sleep. So I simply lie down on the floor next to his cot and place my hand on his bed through the cot bars till he falls asleep. And this has worked amazingly well for us.

Now I know things like teething, bad colds and fevers etc will all get in the way and interrupt this process. For example, my son gave himself such a sore throat the first week and a cold with the crying and learning to settle. But I just had to stay strong and trust that this process would work and benefit all of us in the long run. It has made things happier at home and less stressful. I don’t have to go to bed at 7pm with my son anymore leaving my husband downstairs alone. I can now sit down with him and catch up on our day and have some quality time together before bed. We both sleep better…mostly because we have our bed back to just ourselves! No little man in the middle kicking us in the face or pushing us to the edges of the bed. I wake up happier and with more energy to give my son, and also more energy to do a lot more for and with my family. I can’t thank my mother enough for her help, and I am glad I had her support through it. And from her point of view she was happy to be a part of this journey of his.

So if you are someone like me, a big softie, don’t be shy or afraid to ask for help.

I would love to hear from those who have been through this journey. What worked for you, what you found helpful.

Until next time xoxo